Skip to comments.The final Bush pardons
Posted on 01/20/2009 7:38:42 AM PST by SmithL
On his way out of office, President Bush used his power of the pardon to commute the sentences of former U.S. Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who had been sentenced to 11 years and 12 years respectively for shooting and wounding a fleeing drug smuggler in 2005 and then covering up the incident. It was the right move.
Ramos and Compean supporters no doubt would have preferred it if Bush had pardoned the agents - which would have cleared their criminal records. In that Bush had stood by U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton's prosecution of the agents, as well as the jury verdicts, this is the best outcome that was to be had.
When Bush commuted the 30-month sentence of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, he did not fully pardon Libby. He let a $250,000 fine and two years of probation stand, although he did override the prison sentence, because it was "excessive."
No better word could describe the Ramos and Compean sentences.
Ramos and Compean say they thought Osvaldo Aldrete Davila was armed as he evaded arrest, but because he got away, there is no way to know if he was carrying a gun or just a shiny object. Sutton argued, and a jury concurred, that the agents realized they were shooting at an unarmed man. If Sutton is correct, their crime largely occurred in the heat of the chase - and never warranted sentences exceeding the usual plea bargain punishments awarded to crooked Border Patrol agents.
The reason for the long sentences - dumb laws. The federal mandatory minimum system, enacted by Congress in 1986, tacks 10 years onto a federal crime committed with a firearm.
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
About time. He should also give them each the Medal of Freedom too since their acts and service helped keep us all a free country......for now.
So, the last day W commutes 2 sentences. How many did Clinton commute or pardon his last day? 140.
What is the reason for the months of delay in releasing these toe?
That's been the problem all along with this guy ~ no political sense.
If it were me, I would have commuted (not pardoned) Duke Cunningham.
Yep, but Clinton, his wife, and her brother all got paid for those pardon’s, one way or another.
‘Whats done is done’ I believe is the comment baby Rodham made after waddling out to speak to the press in his driveway....
The drug smuggler evaded and resisted arrest. When one agent saw the other fall in the conforntation, he opened fire at the fleeing drug smuggler.
These men stopped a drug smuggler who was actively bringing drugs into this country as an illegal. The did not know they had hit the man at the time, so they did not report it (which was a mistake) and then proceeded with that story (another mistake).
For those mistakes there should have been administrative punishment...but not criminal prosecution IMHO.
Sutton wanted to make an abject example of these men and he did so. But they did not deserve on tenth or one one hundredth of what they got from a politically charged prosecutor and environment.
I am grateful they will be free in March and hope and pray they achieve a successful appeal of their convictions and the harm that has been done their careers, reputations and families.
But I will never forget the way they were treated. It was and is a travestuy and a very shameful thing. I am glad Bush finally commuted their sentence...I wish there had been a full pardon. At least now they will be free to pursue their appeal...and I believe if they get together and write a good book about their experiences, they will be able to provide for themselves and their families in any case.
It's a story that should be told...it's a story that needs to be told from their perspective.
A reporter that actually gets it right. These two were and still are criminals that deserved to go to prison. But, like the reporter, I thought the sentences were excessive.
He didn’t want to turn the Democrats and media against him.
AGREED!!! but then it is clear that Bush has been intimidated by drug profiteers on Mexico
I think it was a give and take to try to continue legislative support for the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. No matter what the dems said, they always voted to continue the funding.
I disagree, criminal prosecution should be in line for ANY LEO who covers their mistakes by lying, especially when the "mistake" involves shooting someone. If they can get away with it when it's an illegal drug smuggler, they'll get away with it when it's a US citizen regardless of criminality.
I don't think they should've gotten prison, that's nearly a death sentance. But they shouldn't be allowed to be LEO's any longer.
I’m disappointed that Libby didn’t get pardoned. Disgusted, actually. Bush had a chance to repudiate that partisan “Plamegate” witch hunt. Fail.
The question, better phrased, is: Now that the sentences have been commuted, why are Ramos and Campean not released today but months from now?
>>>”In that Bush had stood by U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton’s prosecution of the agents, as well as the jury verdicts, this is the best outcome that was to be had.”<<<
This is more appropriately written: “In that Bush had stood by his BUTT-BUDDY’S prosecution of the INNOCENT agents WHO WERE JUST TRYING TO DO THEIR JOBS, as well as the MISLED jury verdicts — BV A JURY WHO WOULD NOT HAVE VOTED TO CONVICT IF THEY HAD KNOWN THE TRUTH ABOUT THE DRUG SMUGGLER — this is the best outcome that was to be had FROM A MEMBER OF THE SMUG, SELF-SERVING BUSH FAMILY — THE FAMILY WHO SINGLE-HANDIDLY RUINED THIS NATION.”
I was wondering that myself.
He released drug smugglers and Scooter Libby far earlier.
What was the downside to making this motion?
Sure it looks like the “explanation” was designed to appease the Mexican government with mea culpas about these agents (if it was really about justice, Johnny Sutton would also be serving in jail for abuse of power) but just WHAT policy with Mexico would have been harmed if this had happened in October 2008 rather than Jan 2009?
A few more conservatives might have gone to the polls if Bush had done this before the election.
No, it's been said that former President Bush had to be dragged to this decision.
I'd say that the blame falls squarely with the electorate.